SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Tim Lambert, Chief Revenue Officer at Openprise

2020 was a year of uncertainty, but allowed leading technology sales people and marketers to reevaluate better ways to drive success that can now set the foundation for a better hybrid year in 2021. Tim Lambert, Chief Revenue Officer at Openprise shares his experience in this quick chat:

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Hi Tim, welcome to SalesTechStar! 

We’d love to hear your journey to CRO, a few top learnings from your experience!

I started my career at the phone company selling Yellow Pages (that would be the books your parents used as a booster seat when you were a little kid!).  After 10 years I realized that the internet was going to not only disrupt the YP business but all forms of media. So, I moved to Silicon Valley and worked for a couple of online media companies before I caught the “startup bug.” 

My first role as a CRO was at a small SaaS startup in the recruitment space. 11 years later we sold to a private equity firm and I started to look for another company that was disrupting its industry and market. That’s when I found Openprise…

Read More: Overcoming Branding Obstacles to Increase SaaS Sales

Some of my key learnings as a CRO -> well, first, hire great leaders to help scale your team. And make sure you understand the GTM nuances of your company. Whether you’re targeting an SMB, Mid-Market, and/or Enterprise customer base, you need to create sales and marketing strategies that fit each corresponding segment. 

Remember, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in this situation and will quickly hurt and undermine your revenue growth. Finally, you need to build a tech stack that will allow you to move with speed and efficiency to support your GTM initiatives.

Could you take us through Openprise’s journey in 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic? What were some of the core challenges the team initially faced?

While we faced uncertainty (like everyone else!), in many ways day-to-day work life didn’t change too much for the team….Pre-COVID, the company had already established a pattern of working remotely 3 days a week. So we’d already built the trust needed to handle an all-remote environment. This made the move to lockdown smoother for us because we were used to it. Everyone was engaged and set up to work from home. It’s more of a challenge because you’ve got distractions at home, but from a cultural standpoint, it wasn’t a huge leap.

In terms of business challenges, we realized immediately that we needed to re-analyze our target market and build out a new Ideal Customer Profile.  The key questions we asked ourselves: 

  • Who can buy in this new environment? What types of deals were won most often in the past?  What are the attributes of customers that grow over time?  What are the attributes of customers that churn?  Which verticals perform well?

We also developed new content to support the buyer’s journey in this New Normal. We emphasized the business impact our product could have on a company’s bottom line, and we changed our sales and marketing tactics to align with our new strategy.

How have you seen revenue leaders and revenue teams in leading tech companies adapt to a remote marketing and selling environment during this pandemic?

Most tech companies were already prepared to sell in a virtual environment. What I saw as the biggest difference was the GTM strategies to acquire new clients. Before, many companies relied too heavily on conferences and local events to engage with new prospects. That’s why we’ve seen a big digital transformation and more time spent on the customer journey.

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From your own experience leading an integral function through a pandemic, what are some of the top thoughts you’d share?

Data is now more important than ever. You need data that you can trust and the ability to make decisions based on that data, because you can’t have those one-to-one experiences like before.

It’s important to shift the conversation to business impact and ROI. CFOs will require this in our New Normal. 

Another area of focus for us was getting back to the basics, re-evaluating our Ideal Customer Profile, and doubling down on reaching the types of prospects we knew would be successful with Openprise. We also ramped up our requirements for qualifying opportunities. Understanding the decision process during uncertain times is more important than ever.

As sales and marketing processes and themes change in the light of changing business trends, how are you seeing sales and marketing leaders rethink their concept of a customer experience in an online world?

For us, we’ve doubled down on taking care of our customers, and we’ve made some key hires in that area—including an account manager and head of community that purely focuses on the customer experience—to build a deeper customer community, take advantage of best practices, and gain insights into what other leading companies are doing in this New Normal. As part of this effort, we launched a business review process that focuses on how our product delivers ROI and ways we can support our customers. 

We also launched a new webcast series to inspire our customers to use Openprise in new ways. 

We have also been obsessed with metrics like NPS as well as customer satisfaction. 97% of our reviewers on G2 have given us 5 stars, and we continue to rank #1 in customer satisfaction on G2 in the Enterprise Data Quality and Enterprise CDP categories. And we’re proud to say that those efforts have paid off! 

In what ways would you advise sales teams to optimize their sales outlook and outreach keeping in mind the needs of today’s virtual sales team?

Arm your people better, and not just with intent data. 

Here are some of the things we’re doing:

  • Grading and scoring for accounts and contact. Everyone gets a grade before they come in the door based on how closely they match ICP so we can run all kinds of metrics on that.
  • Surge scoring: We have company surge scores that incorporate what multiple people in an account are doing. For example, if three people in a company are doing research within a four-week period, that company is surging.

These grading and scoring tactics help to keep the team 100% focused on things they can rely on.

We can’t end this conversation without diving into the main theme – what have been some of the typical sales technologies / martech that you’ve used as part of your tech stack over the years to drive results?

For the most part, we run a lean tech stack with the usual suspects you’d expect to see, like Marketo, Drift, SalesLoft, Salesforce. For sales enablement, we use Gong.io, which makes it easy in our virtual world to coach as well as gain insights and best practices from others on the team.

But our secret weapon really is the Openprise platform because it makes it possible to keep our tech stack lean by managing many of the processes that in other organizations would fall to sales or sales ops teams.

Openprise first orchestrates all the necessary data hygiene—cleansing, dedupe, enrichment—to make sure all of our downstream processes are accurate, like:

  • Attribution – where we don’t rely only on the contacts associated with an opportunity and don’t require sales reps to add all their contacts.
  • Account + contact grading/scoring.
  • Routing, where we use an account-based lead routing process.
  • ABM, where our data’s better because we use our own custom blend of data from our own Data Marketplace.

We also take advantage of our Openprise App Factory, which makes it easy for sales ops teams to create custom apps quickly without any coding to help get data into the hands of the people who need it. Because having great data that isn’t accessible or too hard to use greatly diminishes the ROI of everything you’ve invested in data and technology.

For example, we’ve built an app that delivers specific Salesforce info to people outside of Sales who don’t have a Salesforce account. We have another app that shows our sales team which of their accounts have been on our website that day. We also use App Factory with our Agile CDP functionality to deliver tailored 360-degree views of data to different teams within the company. 

We’ve delivered apps to the sales team that focus on prospect engagement and intent signals, and a completely different set of apps to the customer success team that focus on product usage, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and customer satisfaction. So each team has the full set of the data they need.     We’re actually pretty proud of all this! To the point that we share all this secret sauce every month in our webcast series too.

How do you feel sales tech and martech preferences and adoption needs will change over time: what are some technologies that you feel will eventually phase out?

At last count there were some 8,000 martech and sales tech apps out there. There’s a tool for everything. But every tool comes with a price, and as companies put more focus on value, we’re finding that they’re looking to consolidate their stacks so they can accomplish more using fewer tools. For example, do you really need separate tools to do data quality, lead routing, and attribution? It’s expensive. It’s a lot to maintain. And a lot can go wrong when it’s time to unify all the data. 

So while I don’t think some of the more useful point solutions will necessarily go away, I do think you’ll see RevOps teams moving toward platforms that offer greater strategic value.

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A parting thought on your biggest leadership goof-up and the learning that came from it!

In a previous role we decided to move into a new segment of customers beyond our core market. While it was the right strategy long term we started selling before we had data outlining the market needs and product requirements. We had some success selling to these new customers but didn’t follow the data telling us that acquisition costs were too high and customer satisfaction stats were below our core market.  This set up a conflict in the product roadmap between serving our current profitable customers and the competing needs of a new, demanding customer base. So, the learning for me was to make sure to build a data-driven GTM strategy before moving forward with a new customer segment.

The Openprise RevOps Performance Platform™ is a single, no-code platform that enables RevOps teams to automate any process, transform any data, and simplify even the most complex RevTech stack.

Tim has over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing. He’s spent the last 13 years building sales teams at rapidly growing companies. His last role was CRO at Jobvite, where he led the team from its early days to acquisition and grew the company’s customer base from 25 to over 2,000. Tim has also held executive roles at Yahoo, Knight Ridder & AT&T.

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